Ali Mahmoud Othman

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Ali Mahmoud Othman
Born1978 (age 42–43)

Ali Mahmoud Othman (Arabic: علي محمود عثمان, born 1978)[1] is a Syrian citizen journalist and activist from Homs. He is nicknamed the "Eyes of Baba Amr"[2] and "Jeddo" (Grandfather).[3]

Baba Amr Press Office[edit]

Othman was originally a vegetable seller, but turned to journalism in the Syrian uprising.[2] He became the head of a media centre in Homs,[4] Baba Amro News, which provided footage and content to satellite TV channels, news outlets and foreign journalists working in Syria,[5] including Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, CNN, BBC, Sky News and TRT.[6]

He gained prominence when he highlighted the shelling of Homs.[7] The centre was in a privileged location because it had internet access and a generator to provide electricity.[8] It is claimed that Othman's footage was the first to be made available.[1][9]

Paul Conroy said Othman "was one of the activists who just made things happen at the media centre. He would take journalists to the front line or to field hospitals, or anywhere where they would be able to get a good camera shot."[10]


The Baba Amro News office was shelled twice; both times with Othman present. He filmed the first shelling and helped carry the injured to safety.[1][7][11]

In the second shelling more than ten rockets hit the office. Foreign journalists Marie Colvin and Rémi Ochlik were killed while they were attempting to escape.[7][12] Othman was instrumental in the evacuation of the three remaining journalists from Homs, including Paul Conroy who was seriously injured.[13] However Othman refused to leave the city himself after the Syrian army regained control.[2]

A Libération journalist said the Syrian Army were fully aware the media centre was broadcasting evidence of crimes against humanity, and they were planning to deliberately shell the office. Doing so would mean there would be "no more information coming out of Homs".[8]


Ali Mahmoud Othman was arrested in Aleppo by government forces in March 2012,[5][11] after being lured to a certain place by a text message.[14] On April 25, 2012 Addounia TV aired an interview with him that was believed to be a forced confession.[15] He is considered to be at risk of torture.[4] It is unknown where he is being held, but he is suspected to be in Aleppo.[4] Amnesty International,[14] Reporters Without Borders,[6] Randa Habib, John McCain,[2] and William Hague[4] have all called for his release.

Possible death[edit]

In 2019 his family were told he died in detention on 30 December 2013. His family are seeking official confirmation of his death and return of his body.[16]


  1. ^ a b c "Ali Mahmoud Othman Prisoner of Conscience". Yalla Souriya. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Rego, Leila Nachawati (April 3, 2012). "Syria: Ali Mahmoud Othman, the "Eyes of Baba Amr", Detained". Global Voices. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  3. ^ "Ali Mahmoud Othman ("Jeddo")". Threatened Voices. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d FLEGENHEIMER, Matt (April 1, 2012). "Citizen Journalist in Syria Is Captured and Tortured, Activists Say". New York Times. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Syria now world's most dangerous place for journalists". Amnesty International. Archived from the original on June 12, 2013. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  6. ^ a b "Syrian state TV broadcasts 'confession' by detained citizen journalist". CNN. May 5, 2012. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "Syrian activist Ali Othman 'may have been tortured'". Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Ramdani, Nabila (February 22, 2012). "Marie Colvin: Britain summons Syria ambassador over killing". Telegraph. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  9. ^ "باباعمرو المنازل تتعرض للقصف من قبل الجيش والامن 21 10 2011". Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  10. ^ Elgot, Jessica (May 3, 2013). "Syria 'Deadliest Place For Journalists', Reporters, Photographers Targeted, Says Amnesty Report". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  11. ^ a b Elbagir, Nima (April 1, 2012). "Syria cracking down on journalists, activists say". CNN. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  12. ^ Wardrop, Murray (February 22, 2012). "Syria: Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin 'killed in Homs'". The Telegraph. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  13. ^ Elbagir, Nima (April 1, 2012). "Syria cracking down on journalists, activists say". CNN. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  14. ^ a b "SYRIEN - ALI MAHMOUD OTHMAN". Amnesty International. Retrieved July 13, 2013.
  15. ^ Rego, Leila Nachawati (April 28, 2012). "Syria: Television "Confession" of Activist Ali Mahmoud Othman". Global Voices. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  16. ^ "Syria : Well-known Syrian citizen-journalist probably died in detention in 2013 | Reporters without borders". Reporters Without Borders. April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 24, 2019.

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